Am I going to have to make every single parenting mistake in the book? You know, THE BOOK, the one where sage wisdom is collected. It says stuff like “walk your kids back to their beds when they show up at yours or your lazy ass is gonna have helluva time getting them out.” That BOOK.
According to the tests of the material in that BOOK, I’m an average student. And that’s if you grade on a curve. In reality, I’m sort of below-average and that’s a hard rock for this valedictorian to swallow.
As alluded to above, I have a small child that comes to my bed every night. He comes when we are already asleep, which means he’s not interfering with “adult” time, but still. It’s like sleeping with a windmill or an angry judo master. Chop Chop Chop go his arms and legs all night long. Jeff and I take turns acting like shields for the other when Simon crawls into bed.
Just walk him back to bed, right? Of course. Except, that requires me navigating a flight of stairs. And it’s cold. And he won’t stay in his room without a battle royale, so screw it. He says; we get bruised in our sleep.
Then, there’s schedule. My kids are under five, so of course I know not to overschedule them. But I did. Oh yes I did, because I got sick of lying around at home watching them fight over toys they ignore until the other one shows interest. In addition to preschool, I’ve got them in soccer, art, golf, tennis, gymnastics. It’s insane. It’s not recommended by the BOOK. In my defense, I’m not building a get-into-college resume; I’m trying to survive the polar vortex.
The BOOK also suggests less snacking so kids will eat meals. My kids have trained me to get them a snack to tide them over as they walk from the living room to the kitchen. A twenty-foot walk. Yessiree, I pack them pretzels or Graham crackers so they can walk to the other end of our modest townhouse.
Bedtimes should be before 8PM? Um, not happening. Toys should be rotated and selectively displayed for maximum enjoyment? No and no. Parents should avoid bribing kids for good behavior and compliance? Well, do stickers, candy and cookies count as bribes?
I’ve created all this. I’m the one who rolls over when Simon shows up at midnight. I’m the one who signed my kids up for seven park district classes. I too am guilty of indulging every snack whim no matter how many seconds before dinner they want a whole mango with some full-fat yogurt. I carry around a cache of goodies with which to bribe them to get into (or out of) the car or to be quiet while I’m on the phone or trying to take a nap.
The mess is mine, all mine. There’s no one to blame except myself and I gave that up for 2014. So, I’ll just live with it and accept my mediocre grades.